The foreign language film, “Biutiful” is now up for two Oscars; One for former Oscar winner, Javier Bardem (who won the award for his performance in “No Country for Old Men”) and also for Best Foreign Language Film.  The pickings for the latter category must have been pretty slim.  At the end of December in the “10 Worst Movies of 2010” the number one movie on that list was “Jonah Hex”.  That terrible comic book movie has been bumped to #2 as “Biutiful” has taken its place as the worst movie of 2010.

Javier plays Uxbal, a man who seems to have his hand in anything involving the seedy underworld of Barcelona, whether that is from the illegal street vendor to the Asian slave laborers living in his country.  He gets a piece of everything.  He’s also a devoted single father of two.  His ex-wife continues to try to fit herself back into his life as she tries to overcome her addictions, while at the same time sleeping with Uxbal’s brother.  Uxbal finds out he is dying and he is trying to tie up all the lose ends in his life before that happens.

“Biutiful” embodies almost everything people stereotypically hate about foreign movies.  Here are some negative things you often hear people say about foreign language movies:

I hate reading subtitles.”  This is usually the NUMBER ONE complaint about foreign movies.  Tough!  A foreign language movie is going to have subtitles.  Some do have English actors doing voiceovers, but that is pretty rare.  Still, it is an understandable argument.  Some people don’t come to the movies to read, although those people have no business watching a foreign movie in the first place.  One argument that has some legitimacy is how your eyes are always watching the bottom on the movie screen reading while you catch most of the other action with your peripheral vision.  One note about “Biutiful” is that it is spoken in THREE different languages.  Each one has a different colored subtitle.  One positive note is that all the subtitles are readable.  Often, when a foreign movie comes to America, the subtitles are done on the cheap and you often can’t read what’s on the screen as the subtitles blend into the background.  A further prop comes to the filmmakers for keeping the movie more authentic by having all the foreigners speaking in their native tongues rather than having them all speak Spanish.

I don’t get foreign movies.”  Don’t count on “getting” this movie either.  There DOES seem to be a message somewhere in this movie.  The movie starts off with some great images.  The first is a POV shot of two people lying on a bed looking up at their hands holding a diamond ring.  The second is in a snow covered forest (which must be something our friends up North must be sick of seeing.  We in South Florida were the only state on the 50 this winter NOT to see any snow).  Uxbal meets another man in this forest and they share some good dialogue.  The movie’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu does shoot a beautiful looking movie.  It may be one of those that are more enjoyable to watch on DVD without the sound on.

Foreign movies are slow and/or boring.”  After that second scene takes place in the forest the movie comes back to reality.  Too bad.  The movie then runs on for another two hours, but it feels like a lifetime.  Alejandro is known to be a very talented director yet you never seem to care about any of the characters in this movie.  Who live?  Who dies?  Who cares?  Not you.  Bardem’s performance is great.  It is probably because of him the movie is getting the recognition it is getting; otherwise, the movie would probably be dismissed by critics and audiences alike.  It is rated R for disturbing images, language, some secual content, nudity and drug use.